Have you met … Judy Davidson?

Associate professor in the Faculty of Kinesiology, Sport, and Recreation

Sasha Roeder Mah - 3 April 2024

Judy Davidson

What is your role in the Faculty of Kinesiology, Sport, and Recreation (KSR)?

I am a faculty member who teaches and writes about various socio-cultural aspects of sport and leisure. 

Having obtained all of your education at the University of Alberta, what does it mean to you to work for your alma mater?

This coming fall, I will have been on the U of A campus in some capacity for 40 years. I have seen a LOT of changes in this faculty and on this campus over those four decades. My time here has allowed me to have worked in many areas of our faculty, whether that be for Campus Recreation, Athletics, Operations or in the academic program. While all three of my degrees are from this faculty, they were all very different experiences in diverse ways due to the flexibility afforded me at the time. This is the greatest strength of this faculty and this university – the depth and breadth across its various disciplines.

What do you love most about teaching and mentoring? 

Building relationships to create enough trust to encourage students to push the boundaries of what they think they know and value, to create space where difficult and provocative questions about the state of our field (and the world) can be posed, and to allow students to think otherwise. I love witnessing students take the space and time to bravely think on their own.

What is the focus of your research?

My current work is focused on analyzing how historically the development of sport and leisure venues in Edmonton has either been facilitated by and/or operated as technologies of settler colonial land dispossession, often through exploitative resource extraction. 

What inspires you to work in that area?

So much of the popular discourse around sport and recreation facilities in this city is that they are an unmitigated good. My work as a critical sport and leisure studies scholar is to ask us to consider rarely told historical realities that might give us pause around these standard celebratory narratives (at minimum) and perhaps make different decisions about reparations and future developments. 

What’s your favourite piece of advice for early-career researchers/academics? 

DO NOT WORK ALL THE TIME. Develop and nurture a rich and flourishing life outside of academia. This will seem impossible or foolish. Do it anyway.

What’s something your KSR colleagues and students might be surprised to learn about you?

My great-uncle was the first dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research at the U of A.